What is Farmer-led Irrigation? ( Video included)

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While a lot of progress has been made on sustainable agriculture, there is much work yet to be done to meet rising food and water demands in a resource finite world – in addition to improving the lives of small-scale farmers. Farmer-led irrigationoffers opportunities for inclusive, sustainable, and positive change. However, urgent international commitment to and investments in farmer-led irrigation are required to tackle the water and food challenges of our time.

“Water does not respect sectoral boundaries. We must work across countries and across boundaries. As business people, farmers cannot wait for water to flow to them – farmer-led irrigation is an active management process,” said Richard Colback, Agribusiness Water Specialist at the International Finance Corporation.

The event brought together over 200 attendees, including ministers from Rwanda, Zambia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. The World Bank delegation was led by Simeon Ehui, Director of Agriculture Global Practice. The event called on African national governments to commit to supporting farmer-led irrigation, which is based on building inclusive private sector supply chains, boosting technological innovations, and increasing use of pumps and water application. The farmer-led irrigation approach emphasizes that the government should support the development of inclusive private sector supply chains to facilitate the development of the growth of farmer-led irrigation.

“We need to combine our efforts with the private sector to bring technologies for farmer-led irrigation to smallholder farmers,” said Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the agriculture minister of Uganda.

The Joint Statement asserts that farmer-led irrigation will fast-track access to irrigation services for millions of farmers in order to enhance adaptation of their farming systems to climate change and climate variability. In addition, the Joint Statement declares that farmer-led irrigation will make substantive contributions to the attainment of many of the Sustainable Development Goals – particularly Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero hunger, and Goal 3: Health. This joint statement explicitly addresses the need to:

The World Bank will continue to support actions to champion farmer-led irrigation as a major technology, policy, and financing option. Farmer-led irrigation is taking root as a major power for inclusive change worldwide – and at its core, for improving the lives of millions of small-scale farmers.

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“My vision for farmer-led irrigation is for a farmer to irrigate her small field, grow vegetables, raise livestock, and provide a future for her family.” Rob Bertram, United States Agency for International Development.

Join the farmer-led irrigation revolution discussion at @WorldBankWater with #Farmerledirrigation.